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The Autumn of Italian Opera - Alan Mallach

The Autumn of Italian Opera

Hardcover

Published: 30th November 2007
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With the passing of giants like Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti, and with Verdi in decline, Italian opera at the end of the nineteenth century appeared to be on the wane. Then, suddenly, with the legendary premiere of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana in 1890, Italian opera entered into a period of enormous artistic creativity and commercial success. In The Autumn of Italian Opera, Alan Mallach chronicles the last years of Verdi and Catalani and the emergence of the Giovane Scuola (young school) of Italian composers led by the superstar composers Puccini and Mascagni, and including such lesser-known but important figures as Giordano, Cilea, and Leoncavallo. Mallach carries their story through to the first World War and a new generation of composers, including Zandonai and Wolf-Ferrari, through the rise of musical modernism in Italy early in the twentieth century. In doing so he offers opera scholars and aficionados a detailed and richly textured perspective on an important but widely misunderstood period in Italian opera.

Mallach places the emergence of the Giovane Scuola firmly within the great social and political upheavals of the time, which brought previously unexplored themes and exotic settings into the Opera House. Their works expressed an intensity of passion, sentimentality, and violence, which appealed to a new generation of operagoers, reflecting the growing dominance of the bourgeois in the new Italy that emerged after unification. Their music reflected the nation's growing cosmopolitanism, integrating themes and styles from composers as diverse as Massenet and Wagner, Strauss, and Debussy into the Italian operatic tradition.

While the author's principal emphasis is on operas and composers, he also provides portraits of the outstanding operatic singers and conductors of the time, and the developments that transformed the opera industry toward the end of the nineteenth century. Mallach discusses the powerful role played by the two dominant publishers, Giulio Ricordi and Edoardo Sonzogno, the ownership and operation of the nation's opera houses, the make-up of the operatic audience, and the diffusion of opera throughout Italy through civic bands and choral societies. This is a landmark and highly readable work of scholarship that sheds light on the last great era of Italian opera.

"The most valuable aspect of this book is the way Mallach brings to life a group of once-popular composers who--Puccini excepted--have been consigned to the fringes of today's repertory."-- "Opera News" "Superior scholarship."-- "Opera Journal"

Prologue: The Unification of Italy and the World of Opera to 1890
Opera and Society on the Eve of Unification
Unification and Its Discontents
Positivism and Naturalism: The New Class and Its Doctrines
Italian Opera in Crisis: 1860-1890
"Abbiamo un maestro:" Cavalleria Rusticana and Its Progeny
The Premiere of Cavalleria rusticana
Pietro Mascagni
Cavalleria rusticana, A Transformative Opera
Diffusion and Imitation
Ruggero Leoncavallo and Pagliacci
Verismo Opera: Fact or Fancy?
Catalani, Franchetti, and the Rise of Puccini
Catalani, Puccini, and Franchetti in 1890
Alfredo Catalani, Poet of Melancholy
Alberto Franchetti and the Last Grand Opera
Giacomo Puccini Makes His Operative Debut
Edgar and Manon Lescaut: Puccini's Path to Creative Maturity
The giovane scuola Comes of Age: Giordano, Cilea and the House of Sonzogno
The giovane scuola Emerges
Umberto Giordano
Francesco Cilea
Costume Drama and Cinematic Opera: Giordamo's Andrea Chenier
The Greatest Living Italian: The Last Decade of Giuseppe Verdi
The Last Hero
Verdi and the giovane scuola
Va, vechhio Giuseppe . . . Falstaff and the Apotheosis of Giuseppe Verdi
The Rise of Bourgeois Opera in a Changing Nation
The Crisis of the Fin de siecle
Opera for the Changing Tastes of the Bourgeosie
Tender Feelings and Everyday Objects
Sexuality, Violence, and Melodrama
Sex, Violence, and Symbolism in Mascagni's Iris
The Land of Opera
Temples of Opera
The Second Tier
The Crisis of the teatri masimi and the decline and fall of the Teatro alla Scala
Brining La Scala Back to Life
Bands, Choral Societies, and Opera outside the Opera Houses
Performing Opera
The Operatic Octopus
Singers
Conductors
Staging and the disponsizione scenica
Ricordi, Sonzogno, and the Power of the Publishers
The Publishing Duopoly
Publishers and their Composers
A New Generation Takes Over
Librettists and Libretti
The Librettists
Luigi Illica: Librettist to a Generation
The Fin de siecle Libretto
The giovana scuola Grows Older
Leoncavallo's Moment Passes
The Long Winter of Alberto Franchetti
Adriana Lecouvreur and Cilea's Silence
Puccini and the Apotheosis of Bourgeois Opera
Comic Opera
The Problem of Comdy
Mascagni's Le Maschere and Its Seven Premieres
Wolf-Ferrari and the Goldoni Operas
Gabriele D'Annunzio and the New Generation
The Age of Giolliti
The Rise of the New Generation
Gabriele D'Annunzio, Wagner, and Italion Opera
Tristan's Children
Pietro Mascagni, Isabeau, and Parisina
Italo Montemezi and L'amore dei tre re
Riccardo Zandonai and Francesca da Rimini
The End of the Era
The Crisis of the Tradition
The Challenge of the Intellectuals
The Modernist Challenge and the "Generazione dell'ottanta"
The Rise of the Cinema and the Capture of the Opera Audience
Epilogue
Summing Up
The Last Hurah of the giovana scuola
The Opera Museum
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781555536831
ISBN-10: 1555536832
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 508
Published: 30th November 2007
Publisher: University Press of New England
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.79